Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. VI. Fancy: Sentiment
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume VI. Fancy.  1904.
Poems of Sentiment: II. Life
The Lye
Sir Walter Raleigh (1554?–1618)
GOE, soule, the bodie’s guest,
  Upon a thanklesse arrant;
Feare not to touche the best—
  The truth shall be thy warrant;
    Goe, since I needs must dye,        5
    And give the world the lye.
Goe tell the court it glowes
  And shines like rotten wood;
Goe tell the church it showes
  What ’s good, and doth no good;        10
    If church and court reply,
    Then give them both the lye.
Tell potentates they live
  Acting by others’ actions—
Not loved unlesse they give,        15
  Not strong but by their factions;
    If potentates reply,
    Give potentates the lye.
Tell men of high condition,
  That rule affairs of state,        20
Their purpose is ambition,
    Their practice only hate;
    And if they once reply,
    Then give them all the lye.
Tell them that brave it most        25
  They beg for more by spending,
Who in their greatest cost
  Seek nothing but commending;
    And if they make reply,
    Spare not to give the lye.        30
Tell zeale it lacks devotion;
  Tell love it is but lust;
Tell time it is but motion;
  Tell flesh it is but dust;
    And wish them not reply,        35
    For thou must give the lye.
Tell age it daily wasteth;
  Tell honor how it alters;
Tell beauty how she blasteth;
  Tell favor how she falters;        40
    And as they then reply,
    Give each of them the lye.
Tell wit how much it wrangles
  In tickle points of nicenesse;
Tell wisedome she entangles        45
  Herselfe in over wisenesse;
    And if they doe reply,
    Straight give them both the lye.
Tell physicke of her boldnesse;
  Tell skill it is pretension;        50
Tell charity of coldnesse;
  Tell law it is contention;
    And as they yield reply,
    So give them still the lye.
Tell fortune of her blindnesse;        55
  Tell nature of decay;
Tell friendship of unkindnesse;
  Tell justice of delay;
    And if they dare reply,
    Then give them all the lye.        60
Tell arts they have no soundnesse,
  But vary by esteeming;
Tell schooles they want profoundnesse,
  And stand too much on seeming;
    If arts and schooles reply,        65
    Give arts and schooles the lye.
Tell faith it ’s fled the citie;
  Tell how the country erreth;
Tell, manhood shakes off pitie;
  Tell, vertue least preferreth;        70
    And if they doe reply,
    Spare not to give the lye.
So, when thou hast, as I
  Commanded thee, done blabbing—
Although to give the lye        75
  Deserves no less then stabbing—
    Yet stab at thee who will,
    No stab the soule can kill.

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